Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Identity Theft

He Said - by Blaine Staat

I have been stripped of all identity. Like a naked babe, I am exposed to the world. Even the fortress from which I rule my kingdom has become but a sterile reflection of the man I once was.

Pity me. Feel my pain.

I walk the halls of my abode a stranger, the walls mocking me with their adornments. I peer into the rooms of my home and see not even a glimmer of my past. From the upper parapet* my lonely gaze crosses the castle moat** as I admire a realm wholly mine, and yet wholly unfamiliar to my senses.

Striding along the countryside, a nobleman approaches:

“Nice tie, Blaine.”

“Thanks. Catherine bought if for me.”

At our gala masquerade party:

What a lovely home you have Blaine,” remarks a visiting Marie Antoinette.

“How very kind of you,” replies the man in the pirate suit picked out by his wife. “Catherine decorated it.”

During the Kentucky / Duke basketball game:

“Hey Blaine, whatever happened to that really cool wagon wheel coffee table you used to have?” asks still unmarried college buddy. “You know, the one with all the NASCAR stickers on it?”

“Gone, my friend. Long gone,"
is my melancholy answer. “And don’t put your glass directly on the table; use one of these decorative yet functional coasters with wistful images of the Victorian era tastefully rendered on an un-intrusive taupe background.”

Who is this man staring back at me through the looking glass? What have I become?

And yet, even now, a surreptitious smile can still make a stealthy appearance upon my face. For despite all of her efforts, I have yet managed to retain a solitary vestige of my unmarried life. She does not know it still exists, for I keep it carefully hidden away right here in my . . . in my . . .

“Catherine! Where’s my Tampa Bay Buccaneers keychain?!”

Pity me. Feel my pain.

* more of a porch really
** a flat out lie; there is no moat – okay, well maybe there is a small one after a really good rain

She Said - by Catherine Staat

What wagon wheel coffee table with all the NASCAR stickers on it? After all these years of marriage . . . I didn’t know you liked NASCAR?! Huh! Well, I guess we learn something new everyday!

When Blaine and I got married we had two of everything because we’d both had places of our own. Two coffee pots – we only needed one. Two television sets – again we only needed one. Two sets of dishes, silverware, pots and pans…and let me say here that we both (let me stress the word both) decided that we only needed one of each.

Some of his things we kept as well as some of mine. The only thing we did agree to keep two of was his couch and mine, which I will get to in a second.

I remember the first time I walked into Blaine’s apartment. He did not have a lot in his place; just the essentials. A couch (this was kept), a television set and stand that he had refurbished from an old sewing machine table (we kept that too and used for many years to hold his fish tank), a kitchen table (mine was able to stand on all fours so you can guess which one of the two we kept) a book shelf (we just recently donated this piece before moving here to Kentucky), a highboy dresser from his childhood (we have this currently in our guest bedroom) and his waterbed (okay…need I say more on this one? Yeah…that had to go!).

Just to stress how little he had, when Blaine moved down to Orlando from Charlotte, he was able to pack everything he owned into his 1979 Toyota Celica Supra with one of those hatchback trunks (not real roomy) and the smallest U-haul trailer they had available. I don’t think a wagon wheel coffee table with NASCAR stickers would have been able to fit do you?

One thing I remember about Blaine’s apartment was his cute little couch. It was a definite keeper! It was a beach chair. You know, one of those tri-fold ones with the metal legs and plastic tubes wrapped around that always made your rear end look big when you sank into it?! What more did a bachelor need?

Although he had a small apartment, the living room looked huge compared to his little beach chair couch and television set-up. I just thought that was the cutest thing ever and could not throw it away. We kept that couch for several years and used it may times at the beach until the metal legs rusted and the plastic tubing seat finally gave way.

Do you still pity Blaine? Do you feel his pain?

No, of course not! I think the only pain Blaine feels is when his rear end busted through the seat of his cute little couch!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meat & Potatoes

He Said - by Blaine Staat

Some people would say I’m a picky eater, but that’s actually so far from the truth even the Hubble telescope can’t span the distance.

Picky? No way.

When I think of a picky eater, I think of a cat; no matter what you give it to eat, it just isn’t good enough. That’s not the case with me at all. Unlike a cat, I don’t hate everything, I just hate most things. All you have to do is figure out the 3 or 4 things that I do like and suddenly life is pretty easy.

First off, you can pretty much get rid of the entire Fruit & Vegetable group. Other than potatoes, green beans, and occasionally a banana, this whole food group is highly overrated and generally tastes terrible.

I mean, let’s take a look at the lineup here, shall we? Brussel sprouts, beets, lentils, cabbage, green peas, broccoli, spinach . . . are you kidding me? Yeuch! Why not just ask me to eat broken glass while you’re at it? Fruit is okay, but let’s face it; it simply doesn’t have the shelf life of pre-packaged donuts, and that alone is enough to invalidate it as a sensible option.

Secondly, other than French bread, French fries, and French toast**, if it’s French, it’s terrible.


Ditto for all things Asian. Sorry folks, but Chinese food is just bad. Snap out of it.

So what do I like? Well, hamburgers & French fries, steak & baked potatoes, and meatloaf & mashed potatoes to name a few. If you look closely, you can probably spot a couple of things that are common to all 3 of those: for one, all involve meat & potatoes. For another, none of them have been ruined by covering them with some sort of “pineapple & walnut glaze”.

You’d think that this wouldn’t be too tough for Catherine to figure out; after all, pineapples & walnuts belong to the “Fruit & Vegetable Group” which has already been permanently cut from the menu. And yet, even after more than a decade, I still sit down to the dinner table only to find perfectly good pork chops that have been defiled by some kind of whacked out applesauce & crumbled potato chip topping recipe thought up by people who have no sense of decency and who are obviously bent on nothing more than ruining my life.

They tell my wife in the pages of a cookbook that “It’s delicious!”, and in her naivete, she believes them.

Over and over again.

All of which unfairly makes me the bad guy, because I’m the one who has to tell her it tastes nasty, while Emeril and Wolfgang continue to go their merry way.

To my wonderful wife, all I can say is that it’s just this simple: meat & potatoes. Just heat them up. Do nothing else to them except apply heat. That’s all you have to do.

Think of all of the advantages of this, how easy I make life for you if you simply heed my words. There are entire sections of the grocery store that you can now avoid, and you know exactly what you need to get at the aisles that you do have to go to. What a timesaver I am for you!

On top of that, you only need to know about 5 recipes; this not only keeps the kitchen counters clear of pesky cookbooks, it reduces our expenses by not having to buy them in the first place. How thoughtful and cost conscious can I get?

I don’t need my horizons broadened sweetheart; my present horizon includes cows, and there is simply no greener pasture than that.

Bread is okay too.

** All of which I suspect are not really French at all, but instead invented in America and given those names as a token of thanks to France for giving us the Statue of Liberty. An arrogant assumption, yes, but I’m sure it’s true.

She Said - by Catherine Staat

Funny how our guys think that planning, preparing, and cooking a meal is simply done by just (and I quote), “Do nothing else to them except apply heat.”

I wish it were that easy. I am aware that there are several boxed sets of ready made “just-apply-heat” type foods out there now, but they have no nutritional value whatsoever! Bleck!

I sometimes wonder if my family thinks that a meal just magically appears at the dinner table – hot and ready to eat all at the same time. It’s magic right?! Oh right!

Ladies, we know that there is more to preparing meals for our family. There is a fine art to the whole “well balanced meal” that not only smells good but looks good too. Let’s not forget the long learning process we go through ourselves which involves lots of taste testing (I don’t recall Blaine ever refusing to do) and lots of “learning experiences”.

I will admit I have had quite a few learning lessons along the way that did not always turn out, but I sure did have fun trying out new and different things! I try to remind Blaine that I am broadening his horizons with these new and different tastes from around the world! ~winking~

My favorite recipes come from France because the cooking involves fresh and real (emphasis on "real") foods. And would you like to know what some of Blaine’s favorite meals are? French! He just doesn’t know it!

Most of the dishes I make come straight from my French cookbooks. Don’t tell Blaine that the Cheese and Bacon Potato Cake I make is actually Pommes des Vendangeurs, or the Ham Appetizer Tart is really Tarte de Hors-d'oeuvre de Jambon.

The Poulet Saute a la Moutarde et au Romarin he raved about came from a French recipe which actually called for lapin (rabbit) which I changed and made into Sauteed Chicken with Mustard and Rosemary Sauce instead.

The Tarte Tatin (Upside Down Apple Tart) or the Gateau au Chocolat (French Chocolate Cake) was - according to Blaine - just one of those things I had applied heat to and then served.

But this is our little secret.

Do you think there would ever be a chance I could convince Blaine to take me to France one day?

Hmmm . . . I think the possibility of that happening is slim. So in the meantime, I will take my family to France every now and again in a different way, and even if the only thing I ever serve is Pain de viande et Purée de pommes de terr (this translates into your basic - and Blaine’s favorite - Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes), I can still imagine that we’re enjoying our meal basking in the sunshine at an outdoor café along the streets of Paris.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Grocery Shopping

He Said - by Blaine Staat

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. That’s why I’m presently pushing this shopping cart down the grocery aisle.

Shopping is so easy-peasy it’s ridiculous. And yet Catherine seems to struggle with it a LOT. I just can’t figure out why she has so much trouble bringing home quality groceries. You know, real “straight from the farm” stuff that can be used to make good, healthy, sit down dinners at a properly set coffee table in front of the TV.

Oh look, Red Baron Supreme pizzas are on sale for $6.99 each. Well, well, well, a tantalizing price and all four food groups in one shot. I’ll take 6, thank you very much.

See how easy that was? Catherine, on the other hand, likes to buy things called “greens”, which take up a lot of space in the fridge and block your access to the cheesecake, much like the one I’m now putting in the cart at only $15.95.

Hey, you can’t make it for that.

Plus, there’s a lot of impulse buying when Catherine shops, even though I constantly reinforce to her that she needs to stick to the shopping list that I’ve been considerate enough to carefully review for her.

Wow! Check this out; a 2-pack of WD-40! One for the house and one for . . . well, the other part of the house. Catherine will say - of course - that I “already have 3 cans of WD-40”, but she doesn’t know where they are any more than I do.

Oh, hang on a minute, I’m at the cereal aisle. This could take a bit . . . . [time lapse] . . . . okay, I’m back. You know, it’s amazing how much physical space 9 boxes of cereal takes up; I hardly have any room left in the cart. I guess it’s difficult to stuff all those vitamins & minerals into small packages, but hey, I love my kids, and I want them to be healthy, even if that means I have to do without something that I would like.

Like a couple bags of these powdered donuts which I happen to have just enough room for.

Well, that’s it. I’m done. See how easy that was? And how fast? Just one more little stop on the way to the checkout counter; my keen eyes happened to notice that they have Little Debbies on sale for only a buck a box. Can I spot the bargains or what?

Think I’ll pick up a few.

Of each kind.

Catherine would object, of course, but that’s why I didn’t bring her with me. And before any of you ladies point a finger, raise an eyebrow, or give me an “a-ha”, I promise you, these delicious individually wrapped snack cakes will be used for medicinal purposes only.

She Said - by Catherine Staat

Having one of “those” kind of days, I was relieved when Blaine offered to help out by running to the grocery store to pick up a few essentials, but there is always a bit of trepidation when I hand over the list to him because I never know what he will bring back along with the milk, bread, eggs, and cereal.

One huge spending area in any family’s budget is groceries. Blaine and I have sat down on several occasions, going over our family budget and finding ways to cut out the non-essentials. Being that I do most of the grocery shopping for the family, this is one way I can help with saving money.

I try to make sure that we stay away from “junk food”, as those tend to be the biggest cost items. I make sure I have a list before I go and follow it strictly, knowing what we will need for the week and buying only what we need.

I carefully chart out the menu items for the week and take into consideration that we can use leftovers from one night and remake them into something new for another night…again trying to conserve where I can, but without jeopardizing my family’s health in the process. Careful consideration not only goes into the grocery budget, but also in making sure everyone is getting a well balanced diet.

I take this job of grocery shopping very seriously! I also take my time reading labels and checking prices to see where I can get my best deals, which can often take well over an hour to do.

Before heading to the store, I double check with Blaine to find out if there is anything more we may need to add to the list. He gives the list a once over and tells me that everything looks good and off I go with budget on my mind and list in hand.

It makes me wonder then when Blaine goes into the store and forgets our many discussions regarding our budget or his telling me how we need to “buckle down” on extra expenditures and only purchase items that we need.

I also remember the Need Vs. Want conversation. Did he forget how much those extra trips to the grocery can cost us without the list, or how he showed me on the computer – complete with graphs & charts - our spending habits and how those side trips are the biggies in our budget?

No, he won’t remember that until we go over the budget again next month, and he won’t remember that he was the one who went to the store and bought all of those said “extras.” He will however, again remind me that we need to “buckle down” some more, and that I need to be careful about buying items we really don’t need. I think Blaine just becomes like the kid in a candy store. ~ sigh ~

What is a mother . . .err . . . I mean, a wife, to do?!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stuff in the Shower

He Said - by Blaine Staat

Marriage teaches you many things. For instance, when I was single, I was under the mistaken impression that towels could be used more than once. I only owned 3 towels myself, and one of them remained perpetually folded in the closet. I could get 3, maybe 4 weeks out of a towel before the thought even occurred to me that I should wash it. To think I was so woefully misguided the whole time . . .

Another thing I learned about was what I refer to now as “shower inventory”. Again, in my ignorance, I had made it deep into my 20’s thinking that only 3 things had any business being in the shower: soap, shampoo, and me. Looking back, it’s amazing I made it as far as I did, considering the sheer frugality of that type of shower inventory. I shudder at the memory.
What’s in my shower today? Well, I’ll tell you:

1 bar of soap (pink)
2 bottles of shampoo (different kinds, of course)
2 bottles of conditioner (ditto)
1 bottle of shaving gel (not mine)
1 jar of something called “apricot scrub”
2 razors (neither is mine)
1 fingernail brush (okay, I admit; it’s useful)
1 big poofy scrubby thing
1 washcloth (they still make these? Why?)
1 large plastic cup (for the kids maybe . . . ?)
1 bottle olive oil (in case I decide to stop bathing and have a salad, I guess)
1 big (but not big enough) shower caddy

This inventory may vary a little (usually with a surplus of something) but overall it’s pretty indicative of what you’ll find in my shower on any given day.

The odd thing is, even though I now know that all of these things are absolutely vital to the health, happiness, and prosperity of my shower, I find that I still have not assimilated myself to the proper uses of them. Color me ignorant, but even after all these years, the only things I seem to have a use for are the soap and shampoo.

And occasionally the fingernail brush.

She Said - by Catherine Staat

How can a lady remain a “Lady of Mystery?” Well, it’s hard to do when your husband invites everyone into the bathroom and throws open the shower for all to see (thank goodness it’s clean in there)! Part of being that mysterious lady is not only looking clean and pressed but smelling good too, and you can’t do that with towels if they have that “musty” odor.

Blaine does not seem to notice this odor (must be a guy thing), and feels that if you are clean when you use the towel to dry off with, it’s still clean, and can be used over and over for weeks on end. Towels have their statute of limitations, and when they have reached that point of no return, they are promptly removed and replaced with new ones that do smell clean and fresh.

And now that my husband has so kindly shared some of my beauty secrets with you, I feel I must explain that what might look rather bizarre to the untrained eye actually does have great purpose and meaning.

1 bar of soap (pink)
~Pink (of course!) and it smells good too. This bar of soap has the capability of not only making one smell clean and fresh but will soften your skin at the same time. This is a must in any lady’s daily care of herself.

2 bottles of shampoo (different kinds, of course)
2 bottles of conditioner (ditto)
~When our oldest daughter came up for a visit, she brought along with her a few of her favorite hair products and other items to leave here so that she was not carting these things back and forth. Very smart and very sensible don’t you think? Lillian understands the importance of taking care of her locks of hair, and that it not only must be clean, but shiny and healthy too. Yes…she has learned well!

1 bottle of shaving gel (not mine)
~Well, I certainly hope not! You wouldn’t expect a lady to use just anything to shave her legs with would you? No! Much care must be taken and considered when trying to make one’s legs soft and smooth.

1 jar of something called “apricot scrub”
~I love this product and have yet to find anything that I like better. This little jar is like a spa treatment without paying the spa prices. See honey…I’m saving you money already!

2 razors (neither is mine)
~Don’t tell Blaine, but his little girls are growing up and have already started to shave their legs.

1 fingernail brush (okay, I admit; it’s useful)
~This is yours buster. A lady would never find use for such a thing because she would never do any “dirty” work without using gloves.

1 big poofy scrubby thing
1 washcloth (they still make these? Why?)

~Both very necessary in keeping one’s skin smooth. The poofy scrubby thing is wonderful for using on most areas, but there are times when you need the softness of a washcloth.

1 large plastic cup (for the kids maybe . . . ?)
~Yes, we have used this for washing the children’s hair, but this is also very useful in rinsing out the tub while cleaning it.

1 bottle olive oil (in case I decide to stop bathing and have a salad, I guess)
~Ask me how it is my skin is so soft? After taking a shower and before drying off I will use the olive oil to soak into my skin leaving it soft to the touch.

1 big (but not big enough) shower caddy
~You mean they make bigger ones??!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Call of the Domestic

He Said - by Blaine Staat

There I am, braving the elements of the Yukon winter, ice crystals frozen to my face as my trusty sled dogs bravely charge across the frozen wasteland. As I fight against the blinding light of the cold sun, the frigid wind lashing my face, and the uncertainty of my own survival, I have never felt more like a man. Jack London’s world has become my own, and just as I begin to think that nothing could ever tear me away from this land, a jagged crack rips through the sky, and The Call of the Wild is suddenly – viciously – overwhelmed by the call of the domestic.

Blaine, honey,” she calls. “Can you come here for a second?”

I snap back to the present, and with some chagrin I find that I am of course relaxing in a warm, comfortable chair. (Despite appearances, I am not completely stupid; while I certainly don’t mind reading about 60 below, I could certainly make it to my grave with no great amount of disappointment if I never actually experience it).

I quickly analyze the “Blaine, honey”. While I proclaim general ignorance to the overall ways of women, like most men who have shared years of their lives with a woman, I have come to some understanding of the subtle nuances of how my name is called. From the common you’re in big trouble “Blaine” to the less frequent that was so sweet of you “Blaine”, I can often prepare myself for what lies ahead (and sometimes actually put the shovel away) prior to answering.

To my dismay, I realize that this is the I want to completely rearrange the furniture in the living room for no particular reason “Blaine”, with the “can you come here for a second?” meaning that she intends to have this done right now. Tentacles of basic instinct reach out to me from the rapidly fading arctic, urging me to make a decision on which my life may depend: Fight or flight?

I don’t think most men really understand the “rearranging of the room” disorder that seems to constantly plague the fairer sex. In fact, I doubt that the thought would ever even occur to us. Left to my own devices, I can fairly admit that wherever the moving guys put the stuff when they unloaded the truck would no doubt be perfectly okay with me. They are trained professionals, you know.

But whether it’s some aberrant genetic trait or simply a less appealing aspect of “nesting syndrome”, it is a predicament that husbands often seem to find themselves in for no good reason at all. And no matter how reassuring my agreement is to her that “it most certainly does in fact need to be done”, I’m still puzzled that it should be so bewildering to Catherine that I don’t share the urgency of the situation. It’s not like it can’t be done tomorrow.

Blaine,” she calls, with the I know you can hear me and if you don’t come down here in the next few seconds you’re going to be in big trouble “Blaine.”

Well, I’ve got to go. Like I said, I’m not completely stupid.

She Said - by Catherine Staat

Now that we have been in our new/old home for a few months and have gotten past the “unpacking and settling in” stage, I find that I have become inspired to make each room comfy and cozy. When the movers were unloading the truck and asking me very politely, “Where would you like this to go ma’am?” (and knowing how tired they must have been with several trips back & forth and going up & down the stairs), I didn’t feel that I could ask them to “rearrange it” several times to see where I might like it. That is a process that takes some time and thought.

You can’t just place items anywhere…conversational seating has to be considered, as well as having a certain “flow” to the room. So I settled on having the furniture placed less with thought about where it should go than with sympathy towards the gentlemen who were having to carrying our things out of the truck and into the house.

Weeks have gone by, and we have settled into a routine of sorts with the house. You get a feel sooner or later as to how you wish to place your furniture, and once you do there are no “ifs”, “ands”, or “buts” – you are ready to make the room!

Knowing Blaine as I do, I have learned to first “plant the seeds”. That is, I can’t just go in and say I would like something done on the spur of the moment. I have to carefully prepare the soil beforehand (i.e., get Blaine ready for moving furniture around). Subtle hints must be dropped here and there; “Honey, how would the television cabinet look over there?” (Caution must be used on this one Ladies; especially when the piece of furniture you are asking to be moved is so heavy it requires at least three people to move!)

Patience is required when trying to prepare a reluctant hubby who would much rather go to the dentist than have to face the prospect of moving furniture around. After a few days - or even weeks - of subtle hint dropping, however, it is time to get moving! A Lady’s desire to have her home comfortable for those who not only live there, but for her guests as well, is a drive that cannot be contained until she has her home looking and feeling the way she thinks it should.

After much contemplation as to the seating arrangement and how everything will look best in the room (along with the other items that have to be considered…pictures, lamps, rugs, tables and knick-knacks), we are driven to make it happen like yesterday! I am ready to go, only to hear things like, “I think it looks just fine like it is!”

Those comments can be quite the downer, especially when I am trying to get across to my darling husband that the arrangement of the room is truly important to me. In a way, how my home looks on the inside is a reflection of me and what I think & feel about making my house a home.

With gentle guiding and persuasion, I finally get Blaine to see how important it really is, and he reluctantly moves the furniture around to make it cozy. It only takes about a day or two later for him to admit that, “Hey, it actually does look better this way, honey!”

Now to help him see how we really need to take down the wallpaper and paint the ceilings that - if you asked my husband - might as well be 20 feet tall, before we begin painting the walls, which of course, will require moving the furniture I just asked him to move so that we can . . .

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chick Flicks

He Said - by Blaine Staat

The night started great.

I had just walked into the kitchen after having upgraded my neighbor’s intelligence regarding the fact that my 4.5 HP push lawnmower actually had more cutting power than his 5.5 HP self propelled - since everybody knows it takes at least a horse and a half to power the autodrive; Duh - when I saw the Blockbuster video bag by the toaster.

I stopped short. Oh no. Oh please no.

Honey,” my wife called from the other room, “I thought we could watch a movie tonight.”

I heard the shriek of tires on asphalt and cringed as my Friday night abruptly ended with a sickening crunch. I answered her with what I thought was an enthusiastic “Oh. Okay,” even as the ominous bag of videos continued to leer at me from the counter.

What horrors lurked inside, I wondered? Fried Green Tomatoes? Message in a Bottle? My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Babette’s Feast? The possibilities alone made me break into a cold sweat.

Think, Blaine, think!

It’s probably something new . . . with a title as bad as the content . . . but what? “Steel Magnolias”? No, I slept through the annual viewing of that scintillating cinematic masterpiece last month. Not that. But what then? What could it . . . Oh no.

I shuddered as realization slapped me across the face like a canoe paddle. She had picked up a bad French movie with subtitles. I didn’t even have to look; I could just sense it. I grimaced, feeling as if someone had just shot my 16lb Johnny Petraglia LT-48 multi-surface bowling ball out of a cannon straight into my gut.

I don’t want much from a movie. Just one car chase, one big explosion, or even a few thigh slapping jokes regarding bodily functions (done in the best of taste, of course). Is that too much to ask? I mean, who needs all that plot and dialogue when we have special effects at our disposal?

I sighed. I lifted one foot.

I put it down and lifted the other.

For a moment, I considered cold revenge, and my thoughts lent themselves to renting a Vin Diesel movie for the following evening. But I knew I couldn’t do it. She wasn’t trying to hurt me. I’m not sure what she was trying to do, but hurting me wasn’t it. So instead, I grabbed the bag from the counter, took what I thought was a very sensitive deep breath, and shuffled off to my doom.

She Said - by Catherine Staat

I have noticed and made note of my darling’s requests, or I should say “not so subtle hints” that we are not spending enough “alone time” as he would like. I get so involved in what I’m doing that I get blinders on and keep going without stopping to think about my cutie pie. It’s hard to remember that he needs that attention, especially at the end of the day when I’m ready to tag him on the shoulder and say, “You’re it and I’m outta here!”, even if it is only to hide in the bathroom for 5 minutes.

What would be really nice is to be able to go the bathroom without little fingers under the door or constant knocking and asking, “Mommy? Are you in there?!” I feel as if everyone wants a part of me and has been hanging on me all day so that by the time Blaine comes home I feel as if I have nothing left to give.

So to get myself in that frame of mind I thought it would be nice to sit down together and watch a movie, or according to Blaine a “chick flick!”

This takes effort and planning. Schedules are rearranged and children are tucked away for the evening to ensure that there will be no interruptions. Everything has been shifted and moved up a bit, and I busy myself with making everything “just so”, right down the to movie I have picked out to help enhance the mood (or should I say, my mood!)

I need something to help take my mind off of the day to day things that I sometimes think about over and over (like a little committee meeting) making note of what I need to do, should have done, and will have to do the following day. I have got to find a way to tune that out, and watching a romantic movie while snuggling next to my honey . . . well, what could be better? Right honey?!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Car

He Said - by Blaine Staat

Catherine has this thing about me working on the car. I don’t get it. She’ll walk into the garage and see me working - tools and parts spread out all over the place in logically oriented random piles - and she’ll cringe, do an about face, and walk back inside.

Hey! What’s the big deal? I used to fix nuclear power plants in the Navy; how hard can this be? I’m in my garage – a state of Zen – the cans of paint on the shelves and my Scotts Speedy Green 3000 rotary fertilizer spreader with foam handgrips hanging on the wall having a robust Feng Shui effect on my mind. I am man, the hunter. I am becoming one with my car.

And sometimes becoming one with my car means that I have to completely disassemble the entire dashboard.

Hmm. That’s an interesting looking metal . . . thing. I wonder where it came from?

See, my car is 37 years old. It needs me. I have to love it and become intimately familiar with . . . uh, oh. I’m gonna need the most dreaded “special tool” to take this piece off. I told Catherine I needed that. But nooo, we needed to buy groceries. No matter. I can get that thing off with my ViseGrips no sweat.

Anyway, like I was saying, I don’t see why she gets all upset when I do this. I’m good at it. In fact, I could have saved - ouch! that hurt - those GM engineers a lot of money, because I’m constantly finding things that they put in that don’t need to be there.

I kid you not. Every time I finish a job, I always wind up with a few parts left over. Springs, screws, weird shaped metal things. Obviously they weren’t too important or I would’ve installed them somewhere when I put everything back together. I’ve got a whole box of that stuff.

Alright, alright, I’ll be right there!

Okay, I gotta go. Catherine wants me to put the washing machine back together. I guess the laundry needs to be done “right this very exact second”. I told her I’d get around to it. She can be so impatient.

She Said - by Catherine Staat

Okay…let’s back up a bit here (hitting the reverse button). There I was going about my day checking things off my “To Do” list. Things are running pretty smoothly – everything is in order and being done in an orderly fashion. Life is good until…(insert the sound of a car putting on its brakes)!

It was as if walking through the door, from the laundry room into our garage, became some type of portal into another world. We go from peace, tranquility and order to what looked as if the whole car was picked up, turned upside down and shaken for its lunch money!

Parts, pieces, gizmos and gadgets littered on the garage floor and half of my husband’s body is being gobbled by the hood of the car! Not a pretty picture let me tell you (the parts and pieces part of it that is)! It was down right scary. May I also add that there tools of every shape and size imaginable along with not just one but two - TWO - car repair manuals. Oh yeah…

Blaine is a very organized person. He is what you would call a B.O.; that is, “Born Organized”. He has a place for everything. When we go on trips he has this natural talent of getting everything into the car and still have room for us to sit comfortably. The man has an uncanny ability to make things fit and find spaces you would never have thought of. He had plenty of practice when our four children were under the age of 10 – back then when we had a small Geo Prism to fit us all in.

So when I walk into the twilight zone . . . er . . . I mean, the garage, it tends to be a bit disarming at first knowing my husband as I do. Another thing that goes through my head is all those parts and pieces and is he going to be able to put them all back as Blaine is thumbing through his car repair manual trying to figure out what is what and where does it go exactly! One more thought…how much is this going to cost us?

So after walking through the door, my brakes go on and I do a quick turnaround right back to my nicely organized little world and pretend I didn’t see a thing!